25 August 2013

Cycling in Barnet

This blog post is copied with permission from the Barnet Cycling campaign. Although better known for fighting for car parking charges to be lowered and cash meters to be reinstalled Mr Mustard is all in favour of better and safer facilities for cyclists and occasionally he is one although usually on 2 wheels with an engine attached and that is also a mode of travel that carries risk

The times they are a’changing in Barnet and now the time has come to show the council that there is broad support for a more pro cycling stance. Barnet have expressed interest in the Mini Holland program being put forward by the Mayor’s office. With £30-40 million on offer for cycling and urban realm improvements to our borough, there is real scope for change.

Find out more about the Mini Hollands proposals…

The exact details of what would/could be done are being discussed now but we would like to put forward Barnet LCC’s vision of what is possible. There are great potential benefits to ALL Barnet residents whether they cycle or not.

The Mini Hollands program contains a wide range of measures but includes the reallocation of road space to make it easier for local people to choose cycling as their preferred mode of transport for local trips. The creation of segregated routes on some main roads and the removal of rat runs in neighbouring wards will help create the conditions that many people say would get them onto their bikes.

Additionally, the Barclays Cycle Superhighway Scheme could be extended into Barnet, unlocking additional funding and providing a strong spinal route through the borough further enhancing the benefits of the Mini Hollands scheme.

Where will this space come from? The answer will be dependent on the specific conditions. Sometimes it will mean the loss of a traffic lane and sometimes some space will be made from narrowing the pavement. There will also be the loss of the occasional parking space. While we are fully aware that parking is a “hot” issue in Barnet, we believe that the business case for segregated cycling provision on main shopping streets (eg. North Finchley) is very well proven. It has been shown again and again that these sort of facilities increase footfall and turnover where they are put in.

Please see links at the bottom of this post for more about the business case for these sort of changes.
What about pedestrians? Don’t segregated facilities make it hard to cross the road? The fact is that it is hard to cross the road now. Badly designed bike lanes introduce problems for pedestrians and for cyclists alike but well designed ones are of benefit to all. Here at Barnet LCC, we are going to be making sure that whatever gets built conforms to the very highest standards as shown to work well, for all users, in other countries.

Getting more people cycling locally (particularly on the school run) will reduce morning congestion, making it easier for those who must drive. Many people would like to cycle more but are put off by the hostile road environment. Indeed the urban realm benefits in our high streets and neighbourhoods will be felt by all residents. There really is a huge prize on offer here. We are pleased to have the support of prominent locals.
Encouraging active lifestyles will help to keep people healthy and fit into older age, which is very important for an ageing population. It also encourages the use of local shops and services, which ensures that those facilities are supported and available for older  and disabled people who need them nearby.
- Julia Hines, Age UK Barnet
A great idea. Very happy to support this positive urban regeneration initiative.
-Helen Michael, Cafe Buzz, North Finchley
What can you do? You can let Barnet know that you want this to happen! Cllr. Dean Cohen is the new Environment and Transport chap. His contact details are given below.

Please either write your own letter/email to him or simply copy/paste the one we have provided below.

We need as many of these as possible by mid September, so please do sent one in and ask all your friends/contacts to do likewise. Together we can secure over £30 million for cycling and urban regeneration in Barnet!

Cllr. Dean Cohen – Cabinet Member for Environment
6 Russell Gardens
NW11 9NL
Mobile:  07887 778509

Here is a simple form letter.

Please do remember to include your name and full address when sending it.

Thank you for your support!

Cllr Dean Cohen,
I am writing to you as a local resident to let you know that I fully support a move toward a more cycle friendly Barnet. Our borough is well known for its focus on family life and good schools. The Mini Holland scheme proposed by Boris Johnson will represent a great step forward in an area that Barnet has traditionally been rather weak on. More and more people are choosing to cycle and many more would with the support that such a scheme offers. Reallocation of road space is the right next step to grow cycling beyond its current low level. This is a chance to have the best facilities in London, if not the country. 

Barnet deserves the best.

I wish you all the best luck in your pursuit of the funding on offer.


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